TPM Advocates Wrong Passover Date


One of the first clear doctrinal changes that the Church of Rome instituted was changing the date of Passover from the 14th of Nisan to what is normally the first Sunday past it.

Those associated with Rome later called those who kept the original date “Quartodecimans”, from the Latin word meaning 14th.  This is a clear and documented fact of history.

Yet, some with a WCG background have changed the date to be the 15th of Nisan instead.  One such person is TPM’s William Dankenbring.  In perhaps his latest article on the subject he makes such assertions as:

The 14th of Nisan was the final day when preparations were made for the actual Passover Feast which was celebrated on the 15th of Nisan. John clearly says so! So do Matthew and Mark. Luke also corroborates this fact (Luke 22:1, 7). Neither Jesus nor His disciples would have waited till the very last moment to begin preparation for Passover. Therefore, the Lord’s Supper could not have been the same as the “Passover.” (Dankenbring W. PASSOVER – 14th or 15th of Nisan?

Yet, this is in error.  The meal that Jesus ate, He called the Passover:

With fervent desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer…(Luke 22:15).

When did the early church observe Passover?

Astoundingly, TPM states that the early church kept the 15th based on inaccurate information. Look at the following:

Proof No. 16 — Proof of the Early Church

When did the early Christian Church, in the days of the first and second centuries, observe the Passover?  What does the record of Church history say?  Samuel Bacchiocchi, in his scholarly book From Sabbath to Sunday.- A Historical Investigation of the Rise of Sunday Observance in Early Christianity, wrote:

“Moreover we know from the Quartodeciman’s sources (i.e. those who kept Passover on Nisan 14 ACCORDING TO THE JEWISH RECKONING), which apparently represent a DIRECT CONTINUATION OF THE PRIMITIVE CHURCH, that the PASCHAL FEAST WAS INDEED OBSERVED BY CHRISTIANS.  Its celebration … occurred … as well stated by J. Jeremias, ‘at the SAME TIME AS THE JEWISH PASSOVER, that is, on the NIGHT OF THE 15TH OF NISAN. . .” (page 81).

Bacchiocchi writes, in plain language, later on in his monumental classic work:

“. . . Epiphanius (ca.  A.D. 315-403) suggests that UNTIL A.D. 135 Christians  EVERYWHERE observed Passover ON THE JEWISH DATE, namely, ON NISAN 15, irrespective of the day of the week” (ibid.).

This is plain, incontrovertible PROOF that both the Jews, and early Christians, observed the Passover — and they both did so ON NISAN 15 — NOT at the beginning of Nisan 14, as some churches claim should be done, today!  Nor did they substitute “Easter” Sunday in its place, as later paganized Gentiles began to do, especially after the Council of Nicea in 325 A.D…

Now you know the truth.  What are you going to do about it? (Dankenbring WF. Come out of Babylon, My People! SEVENTEEN PROOFS Why PASSOVER Should Be Observed on Nisan 15! 6/21/06).

This is one of the most ridiculous proofs that TPM uses. In the Spring of 2005, I even wrote to W. Dankenbring to inform him that Dr. Bacchiocchi erred on page 81 of that book (and I did inform Dr. Bacchiocchi also), but that Dr. Bacchiocchi’s book has the information correct on page 161, but TPM still has not corrected the above error. Thus when I confronted W.F. Dankenbring with the proof, he refused it. I offered to FAX him the relevant page from Epiphanius if he would provide me his FAX number, but he failed to provide it.

I have given TPM nearly four years to change this, but since the same false information is still at its website (at least as of yesterday), I decided that now everyone should know this.  Those wanting more details, should review the new article TPM: Passover on the 14th or 15th?

How can anyone rely on the writings of one who is relying on a secondary source he has been told is wrong who also refuses to even look at the primary source?

Although all researchers use secondary sources at times, all true researchers realize that PRIMARY sources are far superior. Although I do have Samuel Bacchiocchi’s book From Sabbath to Sunday.- A Historical Investigation of the Rise of Sunday Observance in Early Christianity, I also went to the library and borrowed the writing from Epiphanius that Dr. Bacchiocchi referred to. And I made a photocopy of the relevant page–the relevant page only states that their had been 15 bishops of Jerusalem–it says nothing about the DATE of Passover. Nothing about it being observed on the 15th.

The term fifteen (or the numeral 15) is used on twice on the portion of the Panarion of Epiphanius that Dr. Bacchiocchi’s cites:

And there were altogether fifteen bishops from the circumcision (Epiphanius. The Panarion of Epiphanius of Salamis, Books II and III (Sects 47-80), De Fide). Section VI, Verse 10,4. Translated by Frank Williams. EJ Brill, New York, 1994, p. 412).

I.e., the first fifteen bishops of Jerusalem (The Panarion of Epiphanius of Salamis, Books II and III (Sects 47-80), De Fide). Section VI. Footnote presumably from the translator. Translated by Frank Williams. EJ Brill, New York, 1994, p. 412).

When does the Panarion of Epiphanius actually state that the Passover was kept? Well on the 14th:

The Quartodecimans contentiously keep Passover on the one day, once per year…They keep the Passover on whichever day the fourteenth of the month falls…Christ had to be slain on the fourteenth of the month in accordance with the law (Epiphanius. The Panarion of Epiphanius of Salamis, Books II and III (Sects 47-80), De Fide). Section IV, Verses 1,3;1,6;2,6. Translated by Frank Williams. EJ Brill, New York, 1994, pp. 23-25).

It is of interest to note that Epiphanius recognized that Jesus HAD to be slain on the 14th of the month. It is sad that Epiphanius and others did not believe they needed to observe it when and how Jesus taught.

It is the practices of the early true leaders of the true that we should be referring to.

Astoundingly, TPM inaccurately also cites Apollinaris for proof that it is correct:

APOLLINARIS BISHOP OF HIERAPOLISPolycarp was martyred shortly after his visit to Rome in A.D. 156. The view that Christ was crucified on the fifteenth of Abib was attacked and refuted by Claudius Apollinaris Bishop of Hierapolis A.D. 160-180. He was known by Polycarp and was influenced by Polycarp’s example and his teachings. Apollinaris was also a contemporary of Melito and Polycrates. Here is what Apollinaris says in regards to this view:

‘”There are, then, some who through ignorance raise disputes about these things (though their conduct is pardonable: for ignorance is no subject for blame — it rather needs further instruction), and say that ON THE FOURTEENTH DAY THE LORD ATE THE LAMB WITH THE DISCIPLES, AND THAT ON THE GREAT DAY OF THE FEAST OF UNLEAVENED BREAD HE HIMSELF SUFFERED; and they quote Matthew as speaking in accordance with their view. WHEREFORE THEIR OPINION IS CONTRARY TO THE LAW, AND THE GOSPELS SEEMS TO BE AT VARIANCE WITH THEM.”

Please notice that Apollinaris categorically says that this view is contrary to the law and the Gospels! (When Apollinaris says Christ ate the lamb on the fourteenth, it is actually the fifteenth, but according to Roman reckoning of the moon the day is still the fourteenth until midnight, when the fifteenth begins). (Karakasidis G. THE QUARTODECIMAN PASSOVER Which Day Was It? Triumph Prophetic Ministries, Church of God, 6/23/06).

Carefully note that Apollinaris is arguing that the Passover was not eaten during the day of the 14th, not that it was not eaten the prior evening of the 14th. Contrary to TPM’s view, Apollinaris is showing when the Passover is (Nisan 14) and that it signifies the sacrifice of Christ, both of which are the positions of the Churches of God. Apollinaris is specifically criticizing those that say Jesus was crucified on “the great day of the feast of unleavened bread”, which according to the Bible (Leviticus 23:6), is the 15th. There is absolutely NO WAY that TPM is correct above when they argue that Apollinaris observed the 14th on the Roman calendar which was the 15th on the Hebrew calendar because it is the 15th on the Hebrew calendar that is being referred to (for TPM to be correct, the first great day of unleavened bread would have to be on the 16th on the Hebrew calendar.

But it is interesting to note that even in Apollinaris’ time some falsely argued that the Passover should be on the 15th. Yet, Apollinaris stood for the observance on the 14th.

Melito, Polycrates, Polycarp, Apollinaris are considered to be Quartodecimans (one who held that the date of Passover must remain the 14th of Nisan).

Rome was the church that was against Quartodeciman practices. And in a letter rebutting Rome, Polycrates states that in his region, the Apostles John and Philip kept the Passover the same time he did as they and he would not deviate from the Bible.

The Catholic historian Eusebius tells of the problem of the date:

A QUESTION of no small importance arose at that time. For the parishes of all Asia, as from an older tradition, held that the fourteenth day of the moon, on which day the Jews were commanded to sacrifice the lamb, should be observed as the feast of the Saviour’s passover…But it was not the custom of the churches in the rest of the world…But the bishops of Asia, led by Polycrates, decided to hold to the old custom handed down to them. He himself, in a letter which he addressed to Victor and the church of Rome, set forth in the following words the tradition which had come down to him (Eusebius. Church History. Book V, Chapters 23,25).

Notice that Eusebius states that it was those led by Polycrates who held that they needed to heed an older tradition (than the Roman one), one that observed Christ’s Passover on the fourteenth!

And as far as Passover, notice the first time the date is mentioned in the Bible:

Now you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month. Then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it at twilight…It is the LORD’s Passover (Exodus 12:6,11).

The fact is that Passover is on the 14th.  Which, this year, means it falls right after sunset on April 7th.

Some articles of related interest may include:

TPM: Passover on the 14th or 15th? While the LCG observes Passover on the 14th, some observe it on the 15th. Why is the 14th correct?
Is There “An Annual Worship Calendar” In the Bible? This paper provides a biblical and historical critique of several articles, including one by WCG which states that this should be a local decision. What do the Holy Days mean? Also you can click here for the calendar of Holy Days.
Passover and the Early Church Did the early Christians observe Passover? What did Jesus and Paul teach? Why did Jesus die for our sins?
Melito’s Homily on the Passover This is one of the earliest Christian writings about the Passover. This also includes what Apollinaris wrote on the Passover as well.
The Night to Be Observed What is it? When is it? Why do Jews keep Passover twice and emphasize the wrong date?
Should Christians Keep the Days of Unleavened Bread? Do they have any use or meaning now? What is leaven? This article supplies some biblical answers.

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